The 'Countering Violent Extremism' program institutionalizes injustice against Somalis

By Kadra Abdi, Ayantu Ayana, Ramla Bile, Mohamed H. Mohamed, Julia Nekessa Opoti 

While many were disgusted with Norm Coleman’s unfortunate “In the Land of 10,000 Terrorists” opinion that appeared in the Star Tribune on April, 24, 2015, we ought to be more concerned about the existence of the Countering Violent Extremism program in Minneapolis, which is a personification of that ghastly headline.

Like Coleman’s OpEd, the CVE program promotes seriously flawed theories of terrorist radicalization, as well as unjustified fear toward Somalis and reporting to law enforcement. For example, terrorism isn't defined by a single cultural group or a faith system – yet the CVE program exclusively targets Muslim (Somali?) Americans (because they are Muslim) – cashing in on the tired and racist cliché that Islam and Muslims are inherently violent. The reality? Only six percent of all acts of domestic terrorism can be attributed Muslims, which means that the CVE program’s focus on Muslims ignores the presence of an overwhelming 94% of threats to homeland security.

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Kadra AbdiComment